BOSTON – This was the moment Boston Celtics fans had been waiting for.
Tight ball game, a few ticks left on the clock against the best team in the land, and the game’s outcome in the hands of Kyrie Irving.
He came to Boston to write a new narrative in what has been a phenomenal career already.
CELTICS 92, WARRIORS 88
- Irving comes through in the end
- Brown plays -- and excels --with a heavy heart
- Stevens: 'They stayed together. They're resilient'
And did he ever deliver, scoring seven of Boston's last nine points as Boston pulled off their biggest win of the season, 92-88 over Golden State.
Boston (14-2) extended their league-best winning streak to 14 in a row which will surely prompt some to see the Celtics as more than just a team off to a fast start but a team that could do the seemingly unthinkable at the start of the season - knock off the Warriors.
Kevin Durant had a chance to tie the game up but missed a baseline jumper that was rebounded by Al Horford.
Horford, who had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, passed the ball up court to Jayson Tatum who was immediately fouled.
He made both free throws with 6.7 seconds to play to secure the victory.
Slowing down the high-powered Golden State offense (they came in averaging a league-best 119.6 points per game) was among the many challenges the Celtics had to contend with Thursday night.
Brad Stevens has seen Golden State bury teams in no time, and was determined to not see his crew suffer a similar fate, which is why he called a time-out early in the first after the Warriors took a 9-6 lead after Klay Thompson drained a wide open 3-pointer.
Golden State soon began to put some separation between itself and the Celtics doing what they’ve done to most teams this season which is dominate play at both ends of the floor.
Boston struggled to contain Golden State’s shooters while at the same time not capitalizing on the few opportunities to make the Warriors pay for the few mistakes they made defensively.
It didn’t take long before this battle between the league’s best teams, started to show signs of a potential Golden State blowout with their lead peaking at 45-29 in the second quarter.
But Boston responded with an 11-2 run sparked by strong play defensively and some timely shot-making by Jaylen Brown.
The Celtics continued to surge ahead and were well within striking distance as the half ended with Boston behind 47-42.
Brown finished with a team-high 22 points.
Boston appeared to have made it a one-possession game after an Irving driving lay-up was waived off due to basket interference.
Golden State once again pulled away early in the third quarter, seemingly on the verge of once again putting the Celtics in a major hole.
And just like we saw in the first half, the Celtics scratched and clawed their way back into the game with Jaylen Brown leading the charge.
Trailing 66-51, Boston closed out the third quarter with a 17-2 run with Brown scoring eight straight and a total of 10 points during the Celtics spurt.
After forcing a miss with 4.1 seconds to play, Stevens called a time-out in order to give his team a shot at going into the fourth with the lead.
Terry Rozier got the in-bounds pass and dribbled up court before launching a deep 3-pointer that hit the side of the rim as time expired.
That was one of the few plays that didn't work for the Celtics down the stretch in a game that serves as the biggest win of the season and certainly one of the biggest for Stevens during his four-plus seasons here in Boston.